What Does the Horse Teach Us?

“The horse is God’s gift to mankind” — so states an Arabian proverb.

Those of us who have been granted guardianship of horses would surely agree with this, but have we ever asked ourselves the insightful question, “WHY?”

From my point of view, horses are a gift to mankind for two principal reasons. One, they provide us with a guide path for living an ethical life. Two, they allow us to form ourselves from within and develop the skills, behaviors and attitudes that will help us succeed in life. But these things are possible only if we are willing to listen, reflect and remain open to all efforts at communications.

How does the horse help us to lead an ethical lifestyle? Think about it! 

The horse gives us an example to follow because he:

  • Does not deceive
  • Does not contrive or conspire
  • Does not gossip or spread rumors
  • Does not double-cross
  • Does not doublespeak
  • Does not hide his emotions
  • Does not lie, cheat or steal (except our hearts)
  • Is not a traitor
  • Is non-judgmental
  • Is not prejudiced
  • Is forgiving
  • Accepts things as they are, makes do and carries on
  • Is spiritually and emotionally generous
  • Is nobility without conceit
  • Is a friend without envy
  • Is beauty without vanity
  • Is a willing partner, but no slave

How does the horse help us to improve our character and life-skills? He does this by providing us opportunities to develop:

  • Courage
  • Humility
  • Quickness of judgement
  • Self-discipline, self-control, and anger management
  • Focus and expand our attention span
  • Our decision-making and problem-solving abilities
  • Our confidence, leadership, sense of responsibility, and communication abilities
  • Our assertiveness and creative thinking abilities
  • And, most of all, to develop PATIENCE, TOLERANCE, FORGIVENESS, and UNDERSTANDING

Canter Depart from the halt in a collected frame in a hackmore. 

Executing the turn phase of a canter depart-stop-turn-exercise.  Notice the engagement of the inside right hind leg, the lowered croup, the elevated shoulders and withers, the head at the same angle as the shoulders and the rider’s soft guiding hands (no pulling) – all in a hackmore…

A collected halt “on the bit” with the poll at the highest point, the nose slightly in front of the vertical (as it should be), the base of the neck lifted and the shoulders and withers elevated. 


This tribute is dedicated to m extraordinary horse, Arrow Sante Rosa, known to all as Miss Rosa, who went to her place of honor in the eternally green horse pasture in July 2022.   She was my constant companion for twenty-three of her twenty-six years. 

I have had the good fortune to have been given guardianship of two special horses in my life, Miss Shannon and Mister Levi, but Miss Rosa was extraordinary.   She was tall with long, black, thick silky hair and full round deep dark expressive eyes which communicated her every emotion.   She was fast, had heart, and was smooth moving and was also spirited, enthusiastic, expressive, and always did her best with all her being to do everything that I ever asked her to do.  She became a California-Style bridle horse carrying the traditional Spanish spade bit.   She worked cattle on ranches from the deserts of Arizona to the mountains of Oregon as well as in arenas.   She could perform almost all of the classical movements of a dressage horse.   And she became, in her later years, a demonstration horse to showcase all these talents to the students that I was mentoring. 

Miss Rosa was extraordinary because she could sense and feel what I was going to ask her to do, and she would get herself ready and just do it.   My thoughts became her thoughts, and her thoughts became my thoughts so that we came together as one.   An out-of-this-world experience!

Many horse people aspire to have a dream horse once in their lives, most never do.   I had one.   Miss Rosa was her name.  


Whispers to a Magnificent Horse

From the beginning you were my good lady

With trial and error we learned as one

You taught me the  dos and don’t of having the reins

You made me the rider and horseman I am today

And through it all you were my good lady

We aged and had our struggles but every time we came through stronger

Day in and day out we spent our time together

Memories of our peaceful trail rides, shuffles around the pen

and having the first hello every bright morning and the last goodbye every evening

Our bond was strong and will never break

You were my fourth child and one that I would never give up

And through it all you were my good lady

From the beginning you were a sassy, boss mare and did not tolerate rude behavior from anybody

You had a majestic look with kind, gentle eyes

And when the sun and the breeze hit you just right there were no words to capture your beauty

As I say you are a “magnificent horse”

And through it all you were my good lady

Memories will come and go but you are forever in my heart

Along with the gratitude I hold to have called you mine

You have etched yourself into my soul and I will carry you with me everyday

This is not a goodbye but a ‘see you later’

And through it all you will always be my good lady

You know I’ll never leave you even ‘though we’re now apart

And your voice will now no longer call to me

But when I feel your gentle spirit flowing all around me

I will softly whisper I love you because you will forever be my good lady


In every horse owner’s life, if they are lucky, they will have one special horse. “Mister” Levi was mine.  I don’t understand why he connected with me so deeply but he did and I enjoyed every moment of being together with him. I worked diligently to make myself worthy of being in his company and I believe I succeeded because he told me so. Although he was small in stature, he was majestic in appearance and he carried himself with grace and dignity. His presence was comforting, his bearing peaceful and forgiving and he radiated wisdom and love. I miss him terribly and will always do so as a part of me has now been lost forever. Whenever I am with horses, I will remember what “Mister” Levi taught me: have patience, understand the horse’s fears, look at things from the horse’s point of view, listen to what the horse is trying to say to you, explain what you would like him to do very clearly and then give him the time and the help to learn, rub and praise him often, respect him for what he is, and most of all, love him and enjoy being in his company. Thank you for everything you have done for me and with me. You will remain with me for the rest of my days and then we shall join up once again.